Governor and Legislature Reportedly Reach $46B Budget Deal

Short Special Session Immediately Convened

As the Minnesota Legislature reached its mandatory adjournment time of midnight on May 22, lawmakers ran out of time to negotiate and approve budget bills representing about 70 percent of the state’s budget funding. 

However, the House and Senate leadership were meeting separately with Gov. Dayton.  Less than an hour before midnight, they announced an agreement to immediately convene a special session.  That special legislative session is currently considering a tentative deal, reached between the GOP leaders and the DFL governor on a $46 billion two-year budget.

Photo below by Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune.  House Speaker Daudt and Senate Majoity Leader Gazelka announce agreement on budget and special session.  House Majority Leader Peppin, Gov. Dayton, and Senate Minority Leader Bakk appear behind Daudt and Gazelka

Photo_By_Jeff_Wheeler_Daudt_and_Gazelka.jpg

 

While the details of the budget deal are not yet clear, press reports are listing some agreements.  Based on these reports, the agreements include:

  • $960 million of the $1.65 billion budget surplus dedicated to tax cuts and transportation spending

    • $660 million in tax cuts

      • Expected to affect Social Security, property and business taxes

      • No tax breaks for donations to help low-income students attend private schools

    • $300 million in new spending on fixing roads and bridges

  • $990 million bonding bill for public works projects

  • $477 million more for education, including $50 million more for pre-kindergarten programs

  • $83 million more for public safety, including increased funding for the courts

  • No increase in the gas tax or license tab fees

    • Funding will be shifted from motor vehicle sales taxes and other fees now going to the General Fund

  • More clearly delineated restriction on driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants

  • No increase in penalties for demonstrators who block major roads

  • No ban on plastic grocery bags in Minneapolis

Pre-emption of Minnesota cities from setting their own minimum wages and workplace standards will not be included in the budget bills.  Republican leaders promised to send this legislation to the governor in a separate bill, and the governor promised to veto it.

Final agreements should become clear when the special session ends.  If the agreements are passed and approved, no government shutdown will be required.

The legislature did pass five bills prior to the deadline covering an estimated $6.1 billion of the $46 billion budget.  Bills funding agriculture, the environment, public safety, higher education, and economic develop programs have been submitted to Gov. Dayton.  They all included spending increases after negotiations with the governor and his staff.

Earlier accomplishments of this legislative session should be noted.  They include:

  • $310 million to give 25% discounts to people buying individual health insurance this year, to help offset last year’s jumps in premiums

  • $524 million reinsurance bill, to help health insurance companies cover some of the costliest claims

  • Elimination of the ban on Sunday liquor sales

  • Enhanced security standards for driver’s licenses (Real ID), avoiding travel restrictions for many Minnesotans

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